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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  June 18, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT

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tonight, heartbreak and shock in charleston. the stunning massacre in one of the most sacred places. why did a young man walk into a historic black church with praying parishioners and shoot them in cold blood? nine lives lost in an instant. >> this is pure evil. >> tonight the 13-hour manhunt and e hate crime investigation underway. the photos of the suspect wearing racist symbols, his troubled history and the gun he had just gotten as a birthday present and the victim, a coach, librarian, recent college graduate, their stories as our special coverage from charleston starts now. >> announcer: charleston church
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massacre, this is "nbc nightly news" reporting tonight from charleston south carolina savannah guthrie. good evening from this beautiful city where what unfolded is too much to bear. mother emanuel it happened wednesday night prayer service and bible study, all welcome, no questions asked. a young man walked in, took a seat and waited for up to an hour and police say dylann roof stood up and started shooting. there were nine dead, one injured and countless broken hearts here. a stunning act of mass murder in a predominantly african american house of worship and tonight it's being investigated as a hate crime. tonight, what we know about the man in custody after an all-night manhunt, the stories of quiet and good lives cut tragically short but what happened when the peace was shattered here last night? we begin with chris jansing.
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>> the surveillance photos of dylann storm roof were crucial in his arrest for one worst mass killings in south carolina history. >> that awful person who would go into a place of worship where people are praying and kill them is now in custody where he will always remain. >> police say roof walked into the emanuel church last night during a bible study and sat for an hour before drawing a gun. >> i spoke with one of the survivors and she said that he had loaded, reloaded five different times. he just said i have to do it. he said, you rape our women and you taking over our country, and you have to go. >> when the shooting stopped, nine people were dead, six women and three men including the church's beloved pastor clementa pickney.
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>> have you allowed yourself time to think about what you've lost? >> yeah, but i haven't digested it. one minute i'm fine. >> it's hard. >> yeah. >> fbi, state and local police stormed the region. dylann roof was on the run. >> i've never seen or experienced what i would consider pure evil in my career, and this is pure evil. >> roof would drive 250 miles to north carolina. >> once we got the surveillance photos out and the 1-800 number up, we received tips. >> the decisive tip was late this morning when a local florist recognized the black hyundai and the haircut of the driver. minutes later, the 13-hour manhunt ended when roof was arrested during a traffic stop but the night took an emotional toll. >> we woke up today
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and the heart and soul of south carolina was broken. ♪ ♪ >> a community in mourning but in prayer determined to come together again. community leaders tell me they refuse to answer violence with violence and so tonight, there is a vigil at a local presbyterian church and they will walk here to mother emanuel. in the meantime, investigators are looking forward to asking questions to dylann roof for one which frankly, there is no good answer, why? >> chris jansing been here since late last night. there is word they took the suspect aboard a plane in shelby, north carolina to fly him back here to charleston. we're continuing to learn about his background, previous run-ins with the law and the hate authorities believed he was carrying in his heart. mark potter has that part of the story.
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>> 21-year-old dylann storm roof was raised and had run-ins with the law. in march at a mall he was arrested on illegally possessing a prescription narcotic after he was asking suspicious questions about their operations. at the same mall he was arrested on a misdemeanor trespass charge and banned from the mall for three years. his facebook page showed roof posing in a jacket bearing patches of flags and from apartheid south of africa. south carolina senator and presidential candidate lindsey gram told abc's "the view" his niece went to school with roof. >> i don't know if he finished high school but strange, disturbed young man. >> martha joe says she would see roof at a local restaurant. >> you look at people with different haircuts and different eyes and he looked like he really needed some love or something today. >> records show roof went to school in
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lexington, he entered high school there and repeated the ninth grade. no indication whether he graduated. this afternoon, state agents were at the home in colombia they say belongs to his father and told nbc station wis they were there several hours searching the home. when we went there later this afternoon to ask questions, no one inside was willing to talk. >> we're not talking to any reporters. >> are you mr. roof? >> i'll call the police. >> you don't need to i'm leaving. >> law enforcement officials say the gun used in the shooting was a gift from roof's father and searches of roof's computer have not turned up anything to suggest others were involved. and behind me is the house near colombia that roof gave us his address when he was arrested a few months ago. in the meantime, at a court hearing he waived counsel and decided to come back to south carolina. it's not decided if he'll be tried for the state or federal government, both have the death penalty, savannah. >> mark potter, thank you so much. tonight the community of charleston is only
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just beginning to measure the toll. the aching loss of nine of their best, nine people living lives both ordinary and extraordinary gathered together in prayer and now gone much too soon. nbc's craig melvin with their story. >> charleston is a city in mourning, nine are dead, six women and three men. among those killed, the church's pastor, clementa pickney. a 41-year-old married father of two who peached at emanuel since he was a teenager. >> god we welcome and invite you into this place, your house. we thank you for the spirit that dwells here. >> pickney was a long-time member of the state senate where a black cloth was draped on his desk. >> senator picknye was a giant. >> he was the moral compass of the general assembly. >> several people that worked in the church are dead including a 49-year-old church minister that retire in 2005. she was the mother of
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four. sharonda coleman-singleton 45 was a rev rant mom of three, speech therapist and high school track and field coach. tywanza sanders a 26-year-old barber and cynthia hurd was a 54-year-old branch manager at andrews library, which will be renamed after her. >> she left home to go to church and not hearing from her for so many hours. >> also confirmed dead, 87-year-old susie jackson, 70-year-old ethal 50-year-old myra thompson and 74-year-old daniel simmons who died after being taken to the hospital. a community is coming together to remember nine lives tragically taken in their place of worship. >> craig melvin joins me now. you grew up not far from here. you know this church well. >> mother emanuel, the folks here love that church and elementary field trip was my
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first trip there. we went to the open air slave market here in charleston and that was the final stop. it is that significant to the people of charleston, the people of south carolina. >> thank you so much for sharing the story. among those who new pastor cle clementae pickney, president obama >> there is something the death happen income a place which we seek solace and we seek peace. in a place of worship. i've had to make statements like this too many times, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone that wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact
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that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries and it is in our power to do something about it. the fact that this took place in a black church, obviously, also raises questions about a dark part of our history, and we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals. >> president obama earlier today more than a dozen times he's had to spoke ke eke ake after a mass shooting since he too as we mentioned, the steeple you see behind me stands for so much, deep in history in struggle and most of all, faith. ron alan with that part of the story. >> it is affectionately known as mother emanuel, since its founding 200 years ago. house of worship that's a pillar in the struggle for freedom and equality. steven singleton is a former pastor. >> when i was here, it was not unusual for us to have visitors from around the world. >> why did they come? >> because they heard about it. >> in the history,
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several chapters like now written in blood. one of the earliest members, the leader of a massive slave rebellion, dozens executed, the church burned to the ground. >> the history of our church -- >> reverend clementa pickney spoke about the spirit of the church for an upcoming documentary. >> the church has a very proud history of spirit of defiance and standing up for what is right and what is true. >> icons of the civil right the movement worshipped here. martin luther king junior in 1962, a speech about voting rights. later king's wife lead a hospital workers to the steps of the church. the church still on the forefront of a fight for social justice and despite the attack, congregation continues on. mother emanuel is an open and welcoming church where it's not unusual to see
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strangers, one reason why the attacker did not attract a lot of attention when he joined the prayer service. savannah? >> thank you, ron alan. we're joined by a man who loves this city and state, the son of a minister and spent many years working on the cause of civil rights. good to see you under terrible circumstances. >> absolutely. >> hard to put into words how aching this community is right now. >> that's true. but i think from what i've been hearing today, these people are so appreciative of the way the mayor conducted himself, the way the police chief last night did not hesitate to label this crime with what it should be labeled and the way they went about apprehending the perpetrator. i think that started us on the road of healing and the service at noon i thought was a very
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uplifting service. i've been in those services since the '60s, but i don't think i've seen an audience as so much diversity in it and the way they were sitting today, not in clusters but people were sitting with each other next to each other, holding on to each other, praying with each other. i felt real good coming out of that service and i do believe that in spite of all that's bad about this, some good will come out of it. >> and you knew many of these victims. >> i knew them personally. clementa i've known since he was a student. he is a strong supporter of mine. his sister i knew very well and there are two other victims that were very good friends of both personally and politically and they are going to be losses for all of us, but we are going to use this as a way to move forward constructively. >> the words we need to hear.
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congressman clyburn, thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. our coverage continues from charleston in a moment including stepped up security at churches across the country as this massacre brings to light how many violent incidents are occurring in america's places of worship. targets for people looking to do harm. and also, stunning words from the pope today, why he says the earth is beginning to look like his words, an immense pile of filth. o nobody told us to expect it... intercourse that's painful due to menopausal changes it's not likely to go away on its own. so let's do something about it. premarin vaginal cream can help it provides estrogens to help rebuild vaginal tissue and make intercourse more comfortable. premarin vaginal cream treats vaginal changes due to menopause and moderate-to-severe painful intercourse caused by these changes. don't use it if you've had unusual bleeding breast or uterine cancer blood clots, liver problems, stroke or heart attack, are allergic to any of its ingredients or think you're pregnant. side effects may include headache
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charleston, the scene of this awful massacre and who is so horrifying about this rampage is how easy it was for a gunman to gain access to the church, as other public places have increased security in recent decades, churches and places of worship have not making them vulnerable targets. our national correspondent kate snow reports. >> at noon in st. louis, the giant bell at the christ church cathedral and moments later l.a.'s police chief announcing to beef up security across churches in that city. >> we're more concerns this may keep people from following their faith and worshipping. >> and in newark, new jersey a similar discussion. >> this church that you're standing in spends thousands of dollars a year for armed security so that persons that come to worship can feel safe and feel protected. >> but sadly, statistics show houses of worship are too frequently also the site of violent acts.
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>> as i came into the lobby, i could see a man with a firearm in his hand. >> charles chen was held hostage, now a security consultant, he estimates last year there were 176 violent incidents at places of worship. in birmingham back in 1963, there have been 13 mass murders at or around places or worship. churches in texas, louisiana, wisconsin, pennsylvania, colorado and california, a buddhist temple in arizona and wisconsin. most churches don't need armed security, they need people who know what to call the e to call the n to call the authorities. >> the most essential part of security is simply an awareness, having one or two people who are focused on things that we call a dlr, don't look right. >> given what happened last night, many religious leaders are taking no chances. kate snow, nbc news, new york.
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we want to turn to some of the other stories we're following for you. it's day 13 of the manhunt for the two escaped convicts in upstate new york. the attorney for lyle mitchell husband of accused accomplice joyce mitchell told n brks krrks nuz lyle knew of his wife's relationship with an inmate and when he visited her, he wanted answers about how she could have done this. his attorney adds lyle cannot stand by his wife through this. after months of speculation pope francis released his call to action on climate change. the pope warning that the earth is becoming quote an immense pile of filth.
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he says we must reduce compulsive consumerism. he also says rich nations must reduce fossil fuel use to poor and developing nations. the $10 bill is getting a makeover and for the first time in history a woman's face will appear on u.s. paper currency. in 2020 a woman will replace alexander hamilton on the $10. the woman has not been chosen but earlier this year a vote was held as part of a grass roots campaign and harriet tubman was the favorite. >> we have news of our own. nbc news announced starting monday lester hospital will officially take over as the anchor of this broadcast. brian williams is staying with the nbc family and we'll be covering breaking news with his colleagues at msn brks krrks when his suspension ends in august. there is a lot of speculation about brian and tomorrow he'll address it all for the first time publicly in an interview with matt lauer on "today."
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lester will be here on monday. when we come back, echoes of the past, the church massacre leaving so many to ask how far have race relations really come in this country?
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finally tonight, through the grief here in charleston we're once again confronted with the troubling state of race relations and we witnessed so much recently and the attack on one of the most historic black churches sanctuaries becoming targets. >> if you're old enough to remember when four young girls were killed on a sunday morning in birmingham alabama, you thought you seen the worst and the beatings on a bridge in alabama, you knew you witnessed evil. 50 years ago racism seemed it met it's match. >> free at last, free at last, god all mightily will see us through. >> it did to a point. laws were changed and some hearts were changed, too. but whatever happened to that affirmation of equality. perhaps the virus of racism never died and laid dormant to flair up again in new ways.
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a man dies in police custody in baltimore pushing people to the streets. in lots of places in our land there is unease, there is distrust. aren't all men created equal? steven adams is a student. >> i think it's something that is a common occurrence in our society and people are becoming more and more numb to those things. >> numb to the value of another person's life. what harms our neighbor, harms us. why is that so hard to understand? harry smith, nbc news, charleston. and that will do it for us on this thursday night. i'm savannah guthrie reporting from charleston, south carolina. i'll see you from here tomorrow morning for "today." for all of us at nbc news, have a good evening.
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>> that was a red flag for me. >> hired eight actors to pose as supporters. >> just a day in and it's controversy for trump. he is putting

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